Local Tea Party snatches defeat from the jaws of victory

The playing field was set up perfectly for them. On the table was a proposal to move forward with final studies and cost estimates for light rail to possibly move into Virginia Beach. With it, a proposal to raise taxes.

Virginia Beach City Council was split. Five for, five against and one undecided.

Any tea party worth its tetleys could sway one little vote to block this proposal, right?

Not in Virginia Beach. Our tea party is full of toxic avengers that not only failed to sway the undecided Councilmember but managed to lose three more who were previously in opposition.

Final vote 9-2. Total votes for the alternative supported by the tea party? ZERO. Not even a second. Not even a motion.

In a few short weeks of public hearings, our local tea party advocates managed to turn off any hope of support from the public or the Council through racial slurs, Nazi references, loud threats, character attacks and dozens of personal attacks directed to Councilmembers and their families.

The sad part is that hidden below the hate there were many tea party speakers who spoke eloquently and persuasively about their ideas and points of view. They’re the real victims, because their conservative ideas were made radioactive by the leaders of their cause who make it impossible for anyone to want to be associated with them.

The vote incited anger from opponents, one of whom approached the dais after the meeting and screamed at Councilwoman Rosemary Wilson before police intervened.(Virginian-Pilot 5/15/2015)

If anyone testified in front of a General Assembly committee like this, they’d be escorted out and never recognized again.

Virginia Beach has been ground zero for the past few years of tea party zealots and Republicans battling for control. Tea Party has lost most if not all of those battles.

And the most lethal wounds they’ve received have been self-inflicted. In this case, they had a real chance to build support around an alternative and at the very least force a compromise budget.

Instead, they chose to let the insults, attacks and fury fly in public hearings so they could congratulate themselves on their three minutes of fame while elected officials compete to be the furthest away from them.

Then they call the elected officials the next day and ask, “Why didn’t you listen to us?”

They should be asking why they are their own worst enemy.

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